Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Composition Spotlight: Abraham's Test

(Each week we look at a piece of useful repertoire from the ChoralNet Community Composition Showcase.  A variety of voicings and levels of difficulty will be presented.  Enjoy!)
Abraham's Test by Joy F DeCoursey-Porter SATB Divisi and tenor solo a cappella (click for PDF and Audio
Level: High School or higher
Uses: General Concert Use
Program Themes: Tough Decisions, A Father's Love
This Piece Would Program Well With: Randall Thompson's Alleluia available at JWPepper and Sheet Music Plus.
Have you ever been a week out from performing the Barber Agnus Dei and realize it just isn't going to happen?  Having another beautiful work ready to pull out that can be learned in a week could be a blessing.  Abraham's Test can stand on it's own as a featured work or can be used as a training piece to get your less experienced choir singing in divisi in preparation for grander more difficult pieces.  With just a minute and a half to focus on, it is an economical vibrant work.  
This work is available from the composer or email joyfulporter(a)
(Original publication: January 6, 2013)
on January 6, 2013 10:20am
Just an FYI there have been many revisions since the first upload. The newer version includes what is already here, as well as more solos, some whispering and a bit more text. When finished I would imagine it will be around 8 or 9 minutes with a difficulty level slgihtly higher. Either version will be available.
on January 6, 2013 12:28pm
My apologies-- I had forgotten to say a hearty thank you as well! Thanks, Jack!
on January 6, 2013 10:31am
Who is Jack Senzig?
Please send me his email or website?
THank you
Carolyn Eynon Singers
on January 6, 2013 10:32am
Sorry, I meant. Who is Joy Decoursey-Porter...?
Thank you, Carolyn Eynon Singers.
on January 14, 2013 9:21pm

Expressive, heavy, grieving - yes. 

Just enough textural changes to escape “plodding”, but perilously close.

It’s length and minimal mood changes may strain the listener  to stay interested. Maybe some of your revisions speak to these critiques, but you mentioned that the revised score is even longer now.

Nice use of textures and voicings. Harmonies are lush and satisfying. 

The music describes the mood of the text well, but more moods may be helpful.


I would compress the measure widths in many of the passages (instead of letting your notation software dictate the number of measures per system,)  to reduce the number of pages required publish this. Let’s save some trees.

The B in m119 might get lost in the low register. 


***These comments come out of 50 years of listening to and participating in good choral music. I try to let my ear be a major participant in my evaluation. Since this piece was meant to move an audience, I try to critique it with the listener in mind, (rather than some high-faluttin’ music critic.) 

Over-all:   A very moving and satisfying piece.